If you don't own a computer or mobile device, or have yet to learn how to navigate the web, please continue reading. Consider visiting your local library as a wonderful world of high quality online recovery resources await you. And it's highly likely that your library offers both free Internet access and web browser use training.
Even if you've never touched a computer in your life, there is hopefully a library staff member who delights in teaching Internet basics. It really isn't as hard as you might think.
All you really need to get started is browser guidance on how to use a web page search engine such as Google or Yahoo, how to move around or navigate a web page (a page selected from your search results), and how to print articles you wish to keep.
For starters, visit WhyQuit.com. To do so, simply move the mouse pointer to the address window at the top of the web browser page and delete the current address being displayed. Now, simply type "whyquit.com" in the address window and then press "enter" or "return."
Presto! Welcome to WhyQuit! The site is totally free, declines donations, sells nothing, has no advertising and is staffed entirely by volunteers.
Notice that WhyQuit's homepage is broken down into three categories: Motivation, Education and Support. The focus of the left column is on "why" smokers should stop, the center teaches them "how," and the right column is WhyQuit's gateway to free online "support."
WhyQuit "Motivation" pages includes heart wrenching stories about young tobacco victims. For example, lung cancer was diagnosed when Noni was 32 years-old and had just given birth to her first child, and when Bryan was 33 and enjoying his two year-old son Bryan, Jr. Visitors learn how the 33 year-old daughter of comedian Carol Burnett died. They meet Deborah who was 38 and her 11 year-old daughter, and Kim, a much beloved member of Freedom who was 44, and her loving sister Kelly.
Clearly, WhyQuit intentionally shares horrific stories about the youngest of the young. We openly admit attempting to awaken smokers to the fact that predicting who tobacco toxins will kill, and at what age, is no different than playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun.
But with roughly one-quarter of adult lifetime smokers being claimed by their addiction during middle-age, young victim stories are far more common than smokers think.
The center "Education" column is home to Joel's Library, the 40+ years of cessation insights of my seventeen year mentor Joel Spitzer. Inside Joel's Library you'll find links to more than 100 insightful stop smoking articles, to Joel's free ebook "Never Take Another Puff," to his daily recommended lesson guide, and links to Joel's more than 400 YouTube stop smoking videos.
Under the "Education" column you'll also find articles I've written, including this book in multiple formats. While full revisions to this book will hopefully occur every few years, the most current and up to date version will be shared on the webpage in an html version. As new studies are released or insights change, this is where they'll be documented first.
The right column provides "Support" links. Imagine being in the company of more than 10,000 cold turkey ex-users. Exclusively a cold turkey group, Turkeyville is WhyQuit's fast moving Facebook support group.
Managed by two of Joel's earliest online graduates, Joy Kauffman and Sallie Hamilton, Turkeyville posting privileges are reserved for those who have abruptly ended all use of nicotine. I challenge you to find any Internet support group that's more focused, single-minded, serious or productive than Turkeyville.
WhyQuit's original 1999 support group was "Freedom." The victim of super interactive and rapidly advancing social media technology (primarily Facebook) and two discontinued hosting companies (MSN and Yuku), although Freedom no longer accepts members, its 453,000 posts, including member journals, continue to serve as a source of inspiration and valuable insights. For example, it's fascinating reading through member journals and watching their transition from a frightened newbie, to a point where they begin liking or even falling in love with being free.
At both forum's you'll quickly notice that education always comes first. It must. Why? Because we discovered very early (1999-2000) that a forum's ability to support and sustain recovery in a purely pep-rally type environment ("You can do it!") is dismal at best.
While the initial excitement of interacting with other ex-users is often tremendous, it eventually begins to wane. As it does, the forum's value and effectiveness in supporting success diminishes. We learned that when members have little or no education or recovery skills to fall back upon, that group relapse rates become horribly unacceptable (less than 10-15% at 6 months).
Visitors to Turkeyville need not join in order to read and benefit from the forum's messages. In fact, most don't. Still, our volunteers treat visitor emails and their Facebook messages as though they are part of the family.
Thus, Turkeyville (and Freedom) function as virtual classrooms with enormous windows. Maintaining positive control over membership and posting privileges ensures a high quality classroom-type learning experience for all. It also prevents chaos and makes sure that Turkeyville's seasoned volunteer educators aren't overwhelmed when a major newspaper, magazine or other media source features our work and we're flooded with membership requests.
Every message posted at Turkeyville must relate to recovery. General socialization isn't permitted, including celebration of birthdays, anniversaries or your nation's or religion's holidays.
Clearly, Turkeyville isn't for those seeking to socialize or make new friends. Nearly six million tobacco related deaths expected by year's end, the group is deadly serious about its mission. Our goal is simple: to aid all who visit in remaining nicotine-free today.
As for Turkeyville being a 100 percent nicotine-free support site, there must be at least one place on earth where nicotine has no voice. Those posting to the group are certifying to all that they stopped cold turkey without use of any product or procedure and have remained 100% nicotine-free.
Although it may sound harsh, applicants must also agree to abide by Turkeyville's relapse policy. That policy states that should any member relapse that they lose group posting privileges. Obviously, the aim is to encourage members to take recovery seriously.
One final point. The rules also prohibit mention of any commercially sold book, product, diet or procedure. Both forums were built and are rooted n the principle that cold turkey is 100% free, without cost or obligation, and with no purchases necessary.
As such, the forum will not permit any suggestion that any reader need spend any money or make any purchase in order to succeed, including purchasing the paperback version of this book. If sharing links to FFN-TJH at any online site please only share the link to WhyQuit's free versions. Otherwise, expect your post to be deleted or edited.
As for deleted posts, please don't post at Turkeyville if you have not yet started your recovery, or if your attempt involves e-cigarette use, replacement nicotine, Chantix, Zyban, hypnosis, acupuncture, or any gradual nicotine weaning scheme, or if you've relapsed and are using again. Not only will you force the group's volunteers to waste time and energy in enforcing the group's rules, you're inviting needless frustration. There are many online support groups dedicated to other quitting methods.
Again, key is in providing a place where nicotine has no voice. To our thinking, to do otherwise would be no different than allowing alcoholics to come to AA meetings drunk, with their bottle in hand.
Under "Support," WhyQuit offer visitors links to free stop smoking meters. These are small computer programs or applications (apps) that can either be downloaded to and installed on your computer, laptop or mobile device, or used while online without any need for download.
Once you type in your tobacco use history (how often you used, the purchase price and the day you stopped), most will calculate the number of days, months and years we've remained free, the amount of money you've saved, and if a smoker, the total number of cigarettes not smoked and the amount of life expectancy reclaimed to date.
Most meters also allow you to copy their calculations to your computer's clipboard for transporting and pasting into e-mails, documents created with your word processing program, or for sharing on Internet message boards. And this is how nearly all online recovery calculators are used. You enter your use history, and then simply copy the calculated stats and paste them where you wish them to appear.
Here, I'm copying and pasting my stats as of July 2015, while using Harry's Quit Counter:
John - free and healing for sixteen years, one month, twenty-two days, 13 hours and 38 minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1,228 days and 10 hours, by avoiding the use of 353,794 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $102,427.25.
Like a car's odometer, they're a fun way of tracking, marking and measuring your journey home. Links to free meters can also be found at both Freedom and Turkeyville.
It's my hope that the above online recovery support suggestions will stir your thinking. You are not confined to just WhyQuit. The only limit to identifying additional means of keeping our recovery dreams fueled and vibrant is the limits of your imagination.
And our objective here is simple. It's finding creative ways to stay sufficiently motivated long enough to allow the time needed to successfully navigate recovery's remaining challenges, if any, and get comfortable.
Whether today is good or bad, whether feeling motivated or not, your freedom and healing are guaranteed to continue so long as you stick to one guiding principle ... no nicotine, none!